Nick Philippoussis, the father of tennis star Mark Philippoussis, is unlikely to ever face court over a series of serious sexual assault charges against him.
The former tennis coach was due to appear in court today following 14 child sexual abuse charges filed against him last year. He was unable to attend and remains gravely ill following a massive stroke in an American jail, where he was originally being held in relation to his alleged crimes.
Earlier this year, Philippoussis was reportedly immobile following the stroke and was transported from an American prison to a public hospital where he was held under guard and handcuffed.
According to Nine News, the disgraced coach remains in a similar condition, with his health failing to improve.
“He’s still in the hospital, bed-ridden and more or less non-responsive,” Philippoussis’ lawyer Ryan Tegnelia said, according to Nine News. “The indications are… that he will not be improving. At some point we’ll have to make the decision to dismiss the case or how to move forward.”
Earlier this year, Tegnelia dismissed claims his client was faking illness to get out of appearing in court. Philippoussis originally made headlines last July when it was alleged he assaulted two young girls.
They were believed to be nine at the time of the alleged incident, although Philippoussis pleaded not guilty to the serious charges against him. His victims allege the assaults occurred over the course of a year in a tennis complex, in Philippoussis’ own car and even in his own home.
A judge had previously lifted Philippoussis’ bail, set to be at $US9.2 million (A$11.7m), meaning family members, including Mark, would be able to visit him without restrictions.
The tennis star has remained loyal to his father, with Tegnelia previous saying that although the family was “in shock”, Mark was committed to providing comfort for his father. Mark appeared at the initial court hearing but declined to make a statement or answer questions from the media at the time.
As for his father, he would be imprisoned for life if found guilty. A six-month stay has been placed on hearings and if well enough, Philippoussis will be required to face court in December. Meanwhile, the victims do not want the case dismissed at this time.
“Although Philippoussis’ prognosis is grim, the victims’ family in this case is strongly opposed to dismissing the case at this time,” San Diego Deputy District Attorney Garret Wong told AAP, according to The Australian.
And, while Philippoussis is able to open his eyes, he hasn’t been able to leave his bed.